Find Your Inner Neanderthal

They had bigger brains and muscles, but for some reason Neanderthals –thick boned humans who thrived for hundreds of thousands of years in Europe and parts of Asia– died out about 30,000 years ago, while we modern humans survived.Why we, Homo sapiens, flourished and our Homo neandertalensis cousins died out is an evolutionary mystery that biologist are trying to unravel.In the last few years, scientists have uncovered clues not just to what the lives of Neanderthals may have been like, but also clues that tell us more about what it means to be a modern human.

Most interesting of all is that, although Neanderthals disappeared long ago, their DNA lives on in all non-African people.23andMe now offers a lab allowing customers to connect with their prehistoric roots. The lab, developed by one of our resident computational biologists, Eric Durand, compares two modern human genomes with the Neanderthal genome to determine what percentage of your own DNA is Neanderthal. Before coming to 23andMe, Eric worked on the first draft of the Neanderthal genome and on analysis of the Denisova genome, another of our early human cousins. The method we use to determine the percent of Neanderthal DNA a person has is similar to the one Eric   helped develop while working at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. See Eric’s white paper for a technical explanation of the methodology.Most people have Neanderthal DNA, on average about 2.5 percent, but there are outliers, who have much more.What it means to have a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA – whether you’re hairier, or brutish or short, for instance – isn’t known. There are some theories, however, of how Neanderthals contributed to modern humans, including that they gave us some sort of “hybrid vigor,” according to Peter Parham, a geneticist at Stanford University School of Medicine.At the very least research appears to support the theory that at some point during the tens of thousands of years Neanderthals and modern humans lived side by side, a few of them may have shacked up.Or as Elizabeth Kolbert deftly phrased it in the New Yorker: “Before modern humans ‘replaced’ the Neanderthals, they had sex with them.”Provocative to say the least, but it’s actually an idea that’s floated around for some time. Anybody who ever read Jean M. Auel’s saucy prehistoric romance books beginning with “Clan of the Cave Bear” could tell you that. But the notion that modern humans and Neanderthals got way past first base, hooked up and even had children together still doesn’t tell us much about what it means now to have a smidgen of Neanderthal in your DNA.Svante Pääbo, the Swedish geneticist behind the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, explains that from an evolutionary point of view comparing the modern human’s genome to that of the Neanderthal has great value.Humans and Neanderthals share a common ancestor with chimpanzees – our next closest mammalian relative – that goes back between five and seven million years. Comparing the human genome with that of chimps tells us a lot about evolution over millions of years. But by having the Neanderthal genome sequence – now 55 percent completed – and comparing that with modern humans, we can learn much more about evolutionary changes over the last 30,000 years.It may be that the DNA of other prehistoric human groups also are intermixed in our own DNA. Much like with Neanderthals, scientists extracted ancient DNA from the skeletal remains of another ancient cousin known as the Denisovans. The remains – a finger bone – were found in a cave in Siberia and showed that Denisovans were cousins of Neanderthals. They lived in Asia and disappeared about 40,000 years ago. Their DNA is found today in Melanesians.As for the comparisons with the Neanderthals, so far, Pääbo’s team has found almost 80 genetic variants that are unique to modern humans. The function of these variants could help us understand what distinguishes us from Neanderthal.Apparently Pääbo’s work has also resonated beyond the scientific community as well. At a talk late last year, Pääbo told a group of neuroscientists that for months he’s been keeping emails from people who have claimed that they were Neanderthal and should be included in his study. Several women have written to him volunteering their husbands as subjects for study.

Got Neanderthal DNA?23andMe customers can find their inner Neanderthal or at least how much Neanderthal DNA they have at 23andMe Ancestry Labs. Not yet a customer? Visit our store!
  • Robert Holmes

    This stuff has always facinated me, even before I found out that the Neanderthals were not a link in our chain, but a seperate branch. I have wondered if people have retained Neanderthal traits. When I found out that they were a differnt branch, I wondered how much of their DNA had crossed over.

    Anecdotal evidence that I have observed is that those who kind of look like Neanderthals tended to be smarter. (I don’t look like that BTW, but I’m in the Genius range of IQ) I have had friends and bosses over the years who have looked like a “caveman” who were brilliant. i.e. Large lower jaw, sloped forhead, hairy on their bodies, but balding on their head. etc. Most of these guys are not very tall and have broad muscled shoulders too. Look at the co- founder of Apple Steve Wosniak, especially when he was younger. Guy is brilliant, but he has that look.

    Like I said anecdotal, but I have seen or know at least a dozen guys who looked like this that were very smart.

    I would love to know how much I have if any, as much of my ancenstory is from modern day Hungary, right in the middle of the Neanderthal range, and the U.K.

    As I stated above I don’t have these features. The closest celeb that comes to how I look is the late Christopher Reeves. He is much better looking, but I use him as a baseline.

    • REX BOVEE

      Um, yeah, what about double-Y K#rk A##erson?

      • michael hamill

        i think Neanderthals died out 30,000 years ago. That is like 1.6 thousand generations ago. Phenotype, or how one looks, can change over just one generation. So it would seem unlikely that any one displaying physical attributes of the Neanderthal today could signify a signifacant link with x23 or the Neanderthal .
        Though I have heard tell that blonde Mongolian nomads can be traced back to pre-historic warrior hoursewomen in Greek ledgend that supposedly migrated eastward around the time of Alexander. These nomads are tied geneticly to Sythians or people dwelling along the Black Sea region some 2,300 years ago.
        I don’t know. What do you think?

    • Iberian

      It all makes since…
      I sincerely believe that natural selection is to blame for the loss of most Neanderthal gene from the modern Homo sapiens, both female and male alike would rather mate with taller and probably better looking home sapiens.
      But!! Neanderthals also had attractive characteristics for example: a stronger and hairier body on the male-Neanderthal-mutt, I know most women today are more attractive to hairless body but I think in a much cooler Europe and Eurasia 50,000 years ago hairy body could have been a preference!
      And possibly in female and or male alike a lighter shade of skin? This is still some characteristics of many Europeans today!
      I’m also going to mention something that has intrigued me for a while and I have not heard being mentioned as a possible physical link to our Neanderthal heritage: It is known that most (if not all) Europeans regardless of their eye color pos-birth, pre-birth or as fetus they all have grayish/ blue eyes! Could this be a link?

      • Tony P

        You don’t need a complex sociobiological and sex-selection based theory to explain what happened. Suffice to say, some will have sex with anybody and anything. In other cases, you might have had small, isolated populations tossed together by chance. That would be enough to account for the results. Especially when you consider that the vast populations of the historical era have descended from much smaller prehistoric populations.

      • Paul Gerlack

        If you are correct about your theory of natural selection what do you think is to come with our future as the women today have sex with short fat bald wealthy men.

    • pieter prall

      Question: What about dental characters?

    • Kathy

      Interesting observation. My father’s side of the family was of Irish ancestry. They were all very hairy, with heavy eyebrows and the men were not particularly tall. But they (and the women too) were exceptionally brilliant. Although most of my family is deceased now, I would love taking the DNA test myself out of curiosity.

    • Perhaps you are brilliant, but if so, you know little about Anthropology. The Neanderthals had perhaps slightly bigger brains-in dispute-but all indications are that they were not as smart as contemporaneous Homo Sapiens. Who far out-shined them in tool & culture development, & Neanderthals were stronger & seemed better adapted to the cold, but did not have advanced weaponry, They were like A. Robustus, we the brainer. Their brains were lower in the cerebral cortxe part, where more advanced & abstract thinking occurred, & bigger in the primitive back areas. Iit is highly doubtful that the brain soft tissue was not organized as today. Likely our connections between parts were more complex too..

      Also there is zero reason to believe that more muscular, hairier, &/or shorter folks are smarter. AND no reason to think Neanderthals were more often bald. Plus they are described as having “no chin”, which rarely goes along with the strong jawline you describe. And had large noses, & clearly small nosed folks like east Asians do not tend to be lower IQ.

      Anyway I do not think that the small amount of Neanderthal genes folks often have will make them more stupid-the brain related stuff likely was not selected for. But it certainly cannot make them smarter!

      • jsland1

        There are other more psychological characteristics that wouldn’t be exposed in a skeleton but only in a living Neanderthal’s relationship to a uniquely wired brain. I often wonder if there’s a more introverted way of being in the world that was very good at escaping danger but not as good in making practical decisions which might have characterised them.

  • Kempy stark

    Whatvabout people of African decent

    • alan

      Since Neanderthals were from europe and asia, they never came in contact with africans. Only the groups that left Africa during that time in history came in contact with Neanderthal.

      • TSF

        That’s correct. Sub-Saharan Africans do not have the Neanderthal genes. Caucasians and Asians generally do, according to the findings.

        • Jenell

          According to the 23andme site, west Africans have on average, about .5% Neanderthal DNA. Mixed African groups, especially outside of the continent, are obviously going to have a bit more. I’m Black American (85% sub-Saharan) with 1.3% Neanderthal DNA (according to 23andme).

        • Ben

          Archaeology has shown that Neanderthal and Modern Humans also came into contact and interbred in the Middle East. Proximity to the Silk Road passing from China through the Middle East to the coastal areas of North and West Africa would have provided a likely conduit for genetic sharing. In the United States, many people of southern descent are a mix of caucasion and sub Saharan African. I am one of these, ethnically mostly Finn and Irish with 2.9% neanderthal and also 1.8% sub Saharan African.

        • Tom

          Where did it say North Africans came into contact with neanderthals?

        • Bar Lowrey

          Tom–
          I read an article in Science some decades ago. A cave in Iraq contain a lower layer of Neanderthal artifacts, then modern human, then Neanderthal again. The climate was colder when the Neanderthals were there.

  • Asha Gidwani

    There is a concern, that this type of research and data about people’s ancestry may lead to a new kind of racism. One often hears derogatory references about simian similarities of some individuals .
    Just imagine, if some of us were linked to neanderthals as family members. Certainly therevarevsocieties and religions which may reject such people

    • Claudlili

      Well if you notice,now that we are all Neandrothals the conversation is changing fron them being inferior to being superior. Well you’re all wrong! Only me and people who look exactly like me have the perfect genetic combination and superior intellect,looks and so on. Too bad you are all too ignorant to realize it. Just be grateful I have children so they may improve the species. I would tell you what I look like but I don’t want you to feel bad when you realize you don’t look like me. That’s just how awesome I am.

      • ME!

        Thank you… for speaking the perfect truth,
        but for one detail…
        The author of this poignant comment, should read: “Me” 😛

  • Steve

    @Kempy stark – Sub-Saharan African descendants would likely have little to none shared genetics with Neaderthals.

    @Asha – Just another good reason to reject religion. What you have stated is a perfect example of people placating religion by ignoting reality. It is not a concern of the research, but a concern of religious ignorance.

    • annette murch

      You are so right. Often most ALL organized religion does just the opposite of it’s stated attributes of love your brother. Way to go.

  • Arannach

    Ha! So according to 23andme analysis, I comprise of 3% Neanderthal DNA… Regardless of the consequence, I’m using this as an excuse for my stocky, hairy physique.. he,he :oP Being a descendent of Y-Haplogroup I, I always wondered how my ancestors would have interacted when living beside Neanderthals in Europe 28,000 – 30,000 years ago. I’m kind of chuffed that I am part Neanderthal.

    As for the mention of racism I read on this blog, I feel there is no room for that word in this faction of science and archaeology. If anything, this sort of study dissolves any “differences” amongst us and brings us together to remind us WE are all related! ;o)

    • annette murch

      Correct, exactly, well stated!

    • RSummerlin

      I for one am perfectly comfortable with my inner Neandrethal. I do however wish that someone would find the gene responsible for ear hair when you pass 40. It is hard for a simple Neandrethal to trim what he cannot see in the mirror. I guess I need a better tool. haha.

      • Mehki

        Don’t forget hairy earlobes, long nose hairs, and bushy eyebrows. Yes, a better tool for sure!

    • I have never understood my attraction to hairy men. But for as long as I can remember I have been drawn to very Neanderthalish types. I completely understand the absurdity of it, but it has always, always driven me crazy. Somebody needs to do some research on that. I know I am not alone:)

      • Lee Ann

        Read “The Naked Ape” by Morris. He explains our attraction to certain appearances, that show maturity, such as hairiness, hair in the right places, etc. A good example of this is that an aroused woman gets redder lips and ear lobes, which show excitement. Also the labia get redder. So the red lips attract a male, just as seeing female parts. So hairiness would show masculinity and good hormones.

  • David

    Steve,

    I agree. This kind of information could seriously lead to advances especially in medicine. There are some drugs that work best on certain ethnicities but not with others. Perhaps this could be one of those reasons.

    And if nothing else this would be way cool to know.

    • John

      I have what is known as chronic severe treatment resistant ( medication ) depression along with elevated anxiety. I have sought help via therapy and a really vast assortment of medications with little effect from medication, but a pretty good response from therapies DBT, cognitive restructuring thought patterns, breathing correctly and relaxation techniques. My Dr. administered a new test via swabbing my mouth and this new tech will show what medications a person will metabolize. She was very surprised to see my genetic make up will not metabolize most SSRI’s, nor older meds, only Lexapro to a medium degree, thus my lack of response to anti depressants. She commented this is extremely rare for my ethnic back ground, German, English, Connecticut native American woodlands Indians, Celtic ( freckles) and red hair. This is all I know one 99th of my genetic history thats recorded. I have always wanted both maternal and paternal DNA testing to trace my ancestry. When I am laying down in my tipee with the fire casting shadows on the poles, it takes me back…some where, very ancient, so familiar, like I’ve been there for ages. I’m very different than others, very. My thoughts, intuitions, de’ja vu, instincts, natural survival skills, problem solving, fight and flight response etc. I feel unique, unable to fit in, normal small talk-no interest. I am drawn to space, stars, ancient history pre – deluge evidence etc. I am defiant of this societies hanster wheel life style. I must some how afford these tests to better understand myself, maybe then this hidious depressin and anxiety might make more sence. I equate how I feel like a inmate must feel knowing they can never be free, or sit in the sun etc. Am I alone?

      • John

        I forgot to mention these feeling began at age 6, always in the woods alone with my dog, miles away from home, exploring, catching turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, craw fish, hand fishing trout in streams etc. There were no other children around for yrs, we live way out in the woods, nearest house was a mile, all homes from 1683 to 1800’s with no children my age. Nature was my playground. When placed in kindergarden, I isolated. They kept me back a yr then saying I was not mature enough. I finally made aquaintences, but could never truly bond with another as real friends do. 1st grade was torture. I tried to relate but wanted to hunt, fish, bult forts and trap as I was drawn to this. Almost programmed like responses. Bullied daily for being stand offish until I snapped and beat em all senceless in one shot. I’m questioning if my DNA is different, wander gatherer, warrior, hunter, fierce protector. All I know is I am different and still am. Some day this DNA tests will be insurance covered norms, to properly treat individuals medical treatments, as we are all so diverse but one, homo sapiens.

        • gali

          Well John, they say we are but a sum total of all our experiences, and I would
          think that would also mean going way back before we arrived. Fitting in, I suppose
          that was my quest for most my life, was successful enough in that endeavor, but
          at my now ripe old age and seeing how the ways of this world are following, I
          think I would rather be on the outside then in. Theres nothing wrong with being
          one with nature and certainly having a dog for a companion is a real fine idea, both
          nature and canine will tell you no lies. The path you have chosen may be different
          then most, but thats okay too. Leave out all the elements of harm to your fellow
          man and beast and then know that the path you have chosen is a good one for
          you.

        • Pamela

          Not ever fitting in, always fight or flight, at peace in the woods. Enjoy hunting, working the earth, swimming. Most other people look ridiculous to me, they talk too much and say meaningless things. Cologne? I can’t smell them. I don’t like that, because I can smell fear, sickness and aggression. Makeup? Clowns. High heels? I walk barefoot. When I enjoy something, I truly savor it like no other I know. What am I? When I was younger, I thought that I might be an earth child, a wiccan, but that wasn’t it. I suppose doctors would have a handy label for me. Then I started looking at genetics. It hurts the soul to try to conform. Don’t do it.

      • Sherm

        So I am not alone and a little whacky. You describe my feelings as well

        • Ron

          John:
          Your teepee sounds like just the vehicle to connect with your inner hunter gatherer, blogging, googling a wonderful variation of nice speartip design you can chip off your own stone on your laptop or smart phone…….
          Wow! you all need to slow down on the herb………..

      • Christopher Nelson

        John: I wonder if you have any Finnish (Suomi) ancestry. Or any of the other Ugrian ethnic groups, like Esonian, (ethnic cousins of the Finns) Karalian, (people of Finno-Ugrian extraction who now live in a section of the Karalian Penninsula that the Soviets stole from the Finns in 1940, and again in 1945.) The feelings and tendencies, even the depression to a certain degree, are often reported as common among Finns and their cousins. The Finns are my mother’s people… I have experienced some of what you describe, from very early on, only to find some fairly close relatives in Finland, (aunt and uncle, cousins,) who say Yes, this is not unheard of.

  • Peter

    Some have much more than 2.5% How much more? Among modern humans, how much is the maximum of Neanderthal genes?

  • This “stuff” is indeed fascinating. Did I just read in your article that there’s proof that humans share a common ancestor with chimpanzees?

  • Nothing is wrong in revealing the mysteries of the past, but using such discoveries as evidence in disparity among the races will always fail. Most theories propagated on the mental superiority of one race over the other in the 19th century have all become mere insinuations.

  • Well this is good to know, its official I am a Neanderthal and its a good thing, now I can be as piggish as I want and when people disagree with me I can hit them with a club.

  • George B

    It is quite likely that a major volcanic eruption played a major role in wiping the Neanderthal. It is the Campi Flegrei eruption that left a huge caldera, most of which is under water just offshore of present day Naples.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campi_Flegrei

    This event spread ash to the Don river in what is now Russia. It would have created a “dead zone” where no animals or people could migrate across as they would have starved before they got across. It marks the transition from the middle to the upper Paleolithic and it would have absolutely wiped out most Neanderthal populations in what is now the areas of Hungary, Slovakia, etc. The migrating herds would have been cut off and it is now believed that this single eruption likely started the chain of events that led to the extinction of the Neanderthal which were concentrated in a fairly small geographical region at the time because of glacial pressure to the North.

    • Kathleen

      I have read that Neanderthals required three times as much protein to support their heavy bodies and that as populations increased, it became harder for them to get sufficient food. That, combined with the caldera you mentioned, could well have been the reason for the disappearance of Neanderthals.

      • Ashiqul Saiyed

        I wonder if magnetic reversal had anything to do with their extinction 30,000 years ago! Another reversal is coming 12/21/2012 ?!

        • Stewart Fakelastname

          No, there was no magnetic reversal that was going to happen on 12/21/2012, nor mysterious hidden planet that was going to crash into the earth, nor galactic alignment that was going to cause mega-tides, nor any of that stuff that scare-mongers were selling. Check your compass – it still points north!

          One amazing thing happened – the days started getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere (just like happens every winter solstice!) And people who use the Mayan calendar had to get a new piece of stone to carve and a new magnet to stick it onto their refrigerator with.

          Meanwhile, the climate is getting warmer, not because of some scary factor outside human experience but because we keep burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. And war is still as popular as ever. And way too many people die from smoking tobacco or doing other stupid things. You can help fix those problems, instead of being distracted by disaster merchants.

        • Pds314

          My compass is still pointing North. I think something is wrong…

  • Debbie Reed

    I am so glad that you have done this research and made it possible for anyone to find out their biological heritage. I am heading to your website to find out how to get my DNA checked.

    Thank you,

    Debbie

  • guy harris

    Great to be livinng in the area modern humans grew from during last progenitor stage. Email me if u want a copy of Curtis Marean’s Scientific American article. Guypharris@worldonline.co.za

  • Rich

    Anecdotal evidence. . . just look at generations of Northern Europeans. The picture you show of what a neanderthal appeared like, well, it closely resembles my Lithuanian grandfather. Short, stocky stature and the shortest, heaviest fingers I ever saw. As for my dad, also short, stocky and you couldn’t see his shoulders or back because of his “sweater”. He’s was a physcian, as is my brother.
    As for me, 5’4″ stocky, light skinned, and below average intellect. Can’t even spell that other word for doctor. So much for theories.

    • david

      haha!

  • jeannie

    Now that we supposedly know that we get the ‘red hair’ gene from Neanderthals, have any averages showed up in testing done in people with red hair? are they more likely to have a higher percentage of ‘neanderthal genes’ in their DNA? It would make sense. And I wonder about further research that suggests Neanderthals might have had some kind of telepathic communication, since is it generally agreed upon that they could not speak like we do?

  • Rosie Batcakes

    First, I have to say that Steve of Apple Computers has a high cranium, not a sloping forehead; having that said I always wondered if speciesm was at work in the Victorian Anthropologists and hoped that by now we would have come to realise that there are lots of different kinds of people that are all just people. We should indeed be careful how much we label and differentiate. In my opinion,most of the people interested in DNA testing for themselves are seeking some kind of proof of elitism. Any elevated characteristics you have will all ready be apparent. Neanderthal ‘type’ people were very advanced and posessed art and religion but, perhaps, did not have the environment conducive to leisure that what we are considering more advanced people possessed. Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps Mayans were trying to get the Neanderthal look when they flatened their heads? I would like to see people considering each other as members of varying families which would eventually include all our earthly members. We are not our bodies but sojour here briefly. We are all given different gifts to explore not deplore and, for me, this research is in the nature of curiousity only creating new questions where answers once ruled!

  • Rosie Batcakes

    By the way, Jeannie, love your question!

  • Gayle

    I am very proud of my 2.8% Neanderthal DNA. Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans, cared for the sick and elderly, buried their dead, wore jewelry in the form of painted sea shells, crafted musical instruments, and gave us hybrid vigor.

    • And ceased to exist for no apparent reason!

      • ned anderthal

        Ceased to exist could mean no longer lived on earth.

      • Pds314

        Ceased to exist, probably because of their -O blood type making females mating with Sapiens males make the female infertile after just one birth.

        • LeslieFish

          ??? Mixing blood types doesn’t destroy fertility today. Why should it have done so back then?

          • DuhUh

            It would not render her “infertile” as being unable to conceive, but you do know that RH- mothers must be given treatment with Rh immunoglobulin to prevent them from developing antibodies that would “attack” an RH+ fetus/infant, causing it to develop hemolytic disease, that without modern treatment methods would mean almost certain death for the fetus or newborn. If this situation does not arise in a woman’s first pregnancy, it most certainly will in any subsequent pregnancies involving an RH+ sire. And I suspect this very situation is why we do not see an even higher percentage of Neanderthal genes in present day humans, as most likely, most of the mating taking place were between “newcomer” males & Neanderthal females/spoils of war.

    • Gayle: “… buried their dead….”

      On their sides, in fetal position, covered in flower petals, according to some analyses.

      The emotions implied… I find myself weeping for people 60-80 thousand years dead.

    • Lee Ann

      I haven’t been tested, although I should, out of curiousity. My geneaology has me as the 27th gr granddaughter of William the Conqueror, the Saxon that made England Anglo Saxon. Every generation in the modern family of the past 200 years has one or two tall, heavy boned people, surrounded by average height and weight. My brother was 5’10”, 165 pounds. I am 6′ tall, big boned along with carrying some extra weight. I am hairier than he is, he cannot grow a beard, I could grow a beard on my legs alone.

      • brythan

        William was a Norman, not Anglo-Saxon. The Saxon, Angle and Celtic peoples, representing the majority population prior to the Conguest, hated William and his Norman-French barons.

      • Chris U

        You forgot the Norman conquest, 1066. Normans, not Saxons.

  • Able Lawrence

    Many of us harbour genetic material from our hominid cousins.
    Having accepted that, it is too far fetched to expect correlations between crude neanderthan gene percentage and physical features. It is difficult to pinpoint association between diseases and SNPs. While it might make a lot of sense to look at genes associated with adaptation to cold northern climes, going for external physical attributes is on slippery territory. It can be attempted only when we have more robust sequence data from more neanderthal (and other hominid) specimens.
    Before that, how should we now consider other hominids like neanderthal.
    Now that we know that successful mating was possible, should we relabel them as Homo sapiens as a first step.

    • brythan

      The most interesting benefits/characteristics that some of these researchers suggest may have come from the Neanderthals are possible protections against disease according to the documentary that was released.

  • Kilda

    I am an Argentinean. My grand parents in my mother side were Irish. My father paternal grand parents were of Irish ancestry and in his mother side of Spanish ancestry a mixture of basque and Canary Islanders.

    I do not have big bones, but I have short legs and arms. My arms are shorter from elbow to shoulder. I have reddish blonde hair and blue eyes. I have 3 extra numerary ribs, according to my dentist my teeth has “unusual roots”. In my feet my the bigger toe is separated from the rest. My blood type is – 0 My brothers have their head elogated in the occipital area.

    Even before the Neanderthal Genome discovery, I somehow suspected I have neanderthal blood and I would like to know for sure.

    • Pds314

      Well, -O is definitely a Neanderthal characteristic. As are the Ribs and Teeth.

      Can make an “EE” sound very well? I am pretty sure an actual 100% Neanderthal would have quite a bit of trouble.

  • greenknight

    The fun part of this is an interesting side debate it opens, are the features now found in some humans that were the standard for Neanderthals (long the source of cries of “See they were just a population that all had those features but they were humans like us the same species even.”) the result of them being just an outlier population of homo sapiens … or are those features present in -us- because of the neanderthal dna? And since African decent people (without the Eurasian stopover since all the hominid species started in Africa) don’t posses these traits, but those with the genetic evidence of Neanderthal interbreeding do, that the answer is obvious. We got it from them, which means that those traits aren’t part of the traits of the original species, which means that Neanderthals were a different species or at least subspecies (and a true subspecies cannot breed with the main species any more than a separate one by conventional biology) which means that the thinking that all hybrid breedings produce sterile young is disputed and that ancient myths of “changelings” and half-breed children between humans and not-quite-humans (whatever they are called in the myth from gods to little people) become one step more clear. Because we have scientific proof that such events happened in the misty prehistory of Humanity.

  • brian

    Well, just took a peek at my 23andme neanderthal results and I am in the 95th percentile (3%). Explains my stocky frame, abundant (albeit blonde) body hair and other cavemanish qualities… May also explain the fact that after I went to a lot’s of green plant, meat and healthy fat diet… I lost 100lbs!

    • Lee Ann

      Brian, I could stand to lose 75 pounds on my own. I did a DNA test for a research lab checking fibromyalgia and other illnesses that we all seem to have. My DNA says I have two recessive genes for galactosemia. Two recessive genes should have put me in a home for handicapped children, retardation, physical deformities. Instead, I am normal (crazy sometimes but mostly normal). We didn’t know our family carried this gene, nowadays they do a blood test on newborns for it, but they didn’t test for it 60 years ago. My Mother lost a baby brother in 1929 due to unknown reasons. My aunt died earlly of cirrhosis and never drank. But drinking milk causes the milk sugar to store in the liver causing cirrhosis. I have one cousin with cirrhosis now. My family has had infants die of unknown reason, cirrhosis of the liver in nondrinkers, etc. So now we know. I would imagine if I went on a diet of meat and veggies, I might lose weight. As long as I stay away from milk products, which I have a hard time staying away from.

  • Autism: The Eusocial Hominid Hypothesis

    Abstract:

    ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) are hypothesized as one of many adaptive human cognitive variations that have been maintained in modern populations via multiple genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Introgression from “archaic” hominids (adapted for less demanding social environments) is conjectured as the source of initial intraspecific heterogeneity because strict inclusive fitness does not adequately model the evolution of distinct, copy-number sensitive phenotypes within a freely reproducing population.

    Evidence is given of divergent encephalization and brain organization in the Neanderthal (including a ~1520 cc cranial capacity, larger than that of modern humans) to explain the origin of the autism subgroup characterized by abnormal brain growth.

    Autism and immune dysfunction are frequently comorbid. This supports an admixture model in light of the recent discovery that MHC alleles (genes linked to immune function, mate selection, neuronal “pruning,” etc.) found in most modern human populations come from “archaic” hominids.

    Mitochondrial dysfunction, differential fetal androgen exposure, lung abnormalities, and hypomethylation/CNV due to hybridization are also presented as evidence.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/74944514/

    • Paul

      What?

    • Sherman

      That doesn’t make any sense. I bet it is not a supportable theory either. I have 5 children, 2 of them (both boys) are ASD, and while one has the larger head the other does not,They are both very tall for their age and slender, neither of them have a sloped forehead and if they go bald it will be my fault. Their individual symptoms are different. Holy Cow they are individuals. While both of their parents (All of my children are from the same parents) have tendencies of ASD, neither of us are. Neither are my three daughters although they all share very similar traits and characteristics. All of my children have above average IQ’s. I have a genius range IQ. My argument isn’t that ASD isn’t genetic. My argument is that it is not a throw back of Hybrid Neandertal (correct and most scientifically accepted pronunciation of this word.) gene that we all probably have unless we are of African descent. If this were a factor I think we would see more widespread ASD.
      The theory that because we haven’t bred it out yet, despite a “freely reproducing society” is ludicrous. We aren’t that freely reproducing since we have a large amount, of any population, not leaving their area of origin to reproduce. Most populated areas of the United States are, and have been, populated by mass settlements of extended families, or groups that married and combined to become families. For instance the mass settlement of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah by Mormon pioneers and immigrants. I am a product of that. Or the Mass settlement of the North Eastern Coast by Protestant Puritans looking for religious freedom. I’m also a product of that, on both my Maternal and Paternal side. I’m just saying that it is very broad spectrum to assume that just because we are able to marry where we will in America, doesn’t mean that we do. Thus diminishing the prospect of having a freely reproducing public; because we are still hindered by the fact that 100 years back,in any ones genealogy, if you are of European, Scandinavian, Celtic-Gaelic, or British Descent or a mixture of those, you will find that you have about 2,000 cousins from those different relations who are going to have a gene sequence very similar to your own. That means we aren’t crawling that far out of the gene pool. In most eastern societies (Russia, Scandinavia, Europe, United Kingdom{Especially the United Kingdom}, Euro-Asia, Asia, Arab and Other regions of the other side of the world) where they have lived, without a lot of migration for thousands of years with very little mixing with other regional gene pools, it is even more likely that they have common ancestry, without going back 100 years, significantly reducing variations in their gene pools. So to use “freely” in terms of reproducing is an oxy-moron. Really we aren’t. unless we start mandating that we must all breed with someone from a region or a country that our ancestry has never crossed paths with we will not be really spreading the gene pool much farther than the nearest town we can drive too. Most people stay where they were raised, mate (or marry) with people from their general hometown area, and do not stray to far from their gene pool. We are no longer Nomadic societies.

      • chip_sahoi

        Even though the term should be pronounced as “Neandertal”, it doesn’t mean that we must change the spelling. Germanic languages pronounce “th” as t. i.e, Theorie (pronounced as tay-oh-ree), Thermometer (termometer) etc, etc. Spelled as “neanderTHal”, the word is still supposed to be pronounced as “neanderTal”. I have noticed though that the spelling that helps english speakers (the one you use) is becoming more common: still though… You seem to be suggesting that if somebody uses the correct and original spelling, they must be pronouncing the “th” in the typical anglophone manner, which would not be the case. Of course, Cro-Mangon is another pertinent term that often suffers in pronunciation.

        • KateGladstone

          You misspelled “Cro-Magnon” – or, if you prefer the actual,French spelling of the place they’re named after, “Crô-Magnon.”

          Re “Neandert(h)al,” it’s useful to know how, why, and when this and many other German words have undergone spelling-changes from time to time:
          http://german.about.com/library//blreform.htm
          Note that “Neandertal” (meaning “Neander Valley”) and “Tal” itself (meaning “valley”) have been the correct spelling in German since 1902– similarly for many, many other common German words:
          “thun –> tun” (meaning “do”),
          “Theil–>Teil” (meaning “portion”),
          “Thau–>Tau” (meaning “dew”)
          “Thür”–>”Tür” (meaning “door”),
          “Rath” –> “Rat” (meaning “council/counsel”),
          “Wirth” –> “Wirt” (meaning “innkeeper”)
          and hundreds more where the “th”-spelling has been incorrect-and-extinct since before the German army stopped putting little spikes on its helmets.

          Admittedly, it took English-speaking scientists (and other writers on early humans) a few decades to notice that “Neanderthal” was now incorrect in the language which gave us the term, but this attentional delay does not magically make the now-incorrect form correct.

  • Graham Houghton Troillet

    I’ve just read an article about fish in a Swiss lake which are interbreeding and thus the diversity of species is declining rapidly. This is apparently due to environmental pressure caused by chemical contamination of the water due to runoff from farmland of agricultural chemicals and is a phenomenon that has been recorded before in other species. Could the disappearance of Neanderthals be due to a similar mechanism, namely the increased environmental pressure at the end of the last ice age as Hom sap sap moved into Neanderthal territory?

  • Ve Mee

    If the Neanderthals also have a recessive gene, wouldn’t this mean that they could only reproduce themselves. So without interbreeding, with a species that have the complete set of DNA gens they would become extinct all by themselves. No volcano eruption needed.

  • JD

    The husbands should be flattered since there is evidence indicating now that Neanderthals were culturally more sophisticated than previously thought – and I’m leaning towards the idea that they were actually more advanced than ‘modern’ humans. I think the husbands should probably re-evaluate their choice in wives…it seems a mistake made 30 000 – 40 000 years ago continues to be made to this day.

    • Lee Ann

      Back then, they just didn’t have a TV to sit in front of and grunt.

  • Joe Bingley

    Many people believe that as Neanderthal had a much larger body and muscle content, the need for food was much greater. The reason they could have died out was due to food shortages as competition from other species such as ourselves, who were much quicker and could hunt from further away due to our ability to solve problems by using weapons that were easier to use from a distance. Not to say Neanderthal was stupid, much the opposite, they were very clever, perhaps cleverer than humans but in different aspects. Giving no fuel to the insult of calling someone a Neanderthal because that person is stupid.

    • FoleyhasyourRecord

      Thank you, Joe. I have read they were profound problem solvers. PBS had a good documentary not long ago, as well.

  • Miss M

    I have a hobby interest in anthropology, and really appreciated this article and research.

    I have read articles as well on the Neanderthal Theory of Autism and Asperger’s. Actually, I am 39 years old with Aspergers and have a child with Asperger’s. I am a 5’3″ woman with very broad shoulders/hips, not fat, but naturally muscular, require a cold environment, physical/manual work and feel most at ease in natural or wilderness environments. My ethnic background is Scottish and German, and both my son and I are fair-skinned with freckles and can only tolerate a meat and vegetable diet, with very little grains. We also, obviously having Asperger’s, do not process non-verbal communication and are therefore not very social.

    I actually went looking for some correlation between Aspergers and Neanderthals and stumbled across the Neanderthal Theory of Autism/Aspergers and then 23andme research and lab.

    I wonder if there is any research or data indicating if people with Autism and Aspergers have more neanderthal dna than most.

    I would love to find out how much I have.

  • tom

    Ive got red hair so do I have a higher percentage ?

    hmmmmm then again but sure if any more jokes would be appreciated !

  • Vicky

    Hi this is fascinating, I’ve just come here after watching the BBC Autopsy programme on Neanderthals.
    What I would like to know is if the average human has 2.5 % Neanderthal genes, what about the outliers who have much more? How much more have you found in these ‘outliers’ and do they have any similar traits for example build, colouring, personality ? I have been searching to find out and can find no mention!

  • LR

    So why did we assume the remains were that of a “Denisovan” if only a finger was found? If the genome matches the present-day “Melanesians” than it could be a modern human. I’m also curious, does anyone know what kind of dating techniques we use on these remains?

  • RS

    It is obvious that the neanderthal genes are what make the difference in appearence between white people and black people. I doubt it would be otherwise possible for black people migrating out of Africa to evolve blond hair and blue eyes within just 30,000 years. (1000 generations)

  • brett husserl

    When I was as young as 10 years old I could look at people on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ and see an apparent neandrethal ocassionally…..1 was our fullback on the highschool football team…..and they even called him ” the neandrethal”…..teasing him a bit…..traits such as being impulsive are more common in these types….plus he loved hunting….case closed!

  • Ranger Dan

    No test necessary, just check the back of their knuckles for scabs.

  • They call this man or race of men Neanderthall and I see people walking around today with his facial features.

    I wonder if any of these men are still to be seen in Neanderthall in Europe after all this is where this race of men and their skulls were found.

  • jim adams

    I don’t know what human geneticists mean when they talk of hybrid vigor. In the rest of the world .. animal and plant breeders — hybrid vigor is the result of crossing two purebreds. The offspring have hybrid vigor — better survivability, greater and/or faster growth, etc. When raising animals and/or plants, we sell the hybrids and keep the purebreds. If we keep the hybrids and cross hybrids with hybrids, or hybrids with purebreds … the resulting crosses — over time — have diminished vigor.

    I don’t think that humans are any different in that respect. Sexually tho? We are probably the most sexual species in the world, always horny, and i suspect that the number of purebred varieties of humans are small to non-existent — in other words, i think we probably are all mutts, mongrels, mixed breeds.

    Changing subjects right along: back in the early 60s when i was studying Anthropology, one of my professors was from Czechoslovakia. She said that Neanderthals were not extinct, and if we wanted to see modern examples of the phenotype, we should walk the streets of Czech villages.

    And lastly, on brain size. One site lists average modern human brains as being 1345 cc and Neanderthal average brain size as being around 1450 cc. Also, modern humans brains were smaller at the small end and larger at the large end, tho smaller than Neanderthals on average. Other sites say that overall, brain size probably has something to do with intelligence .. but that Einsteins brain was a little smaller than average for modern humans. Go figure.

    • Robert

      Mr. Adams
      When my wife and I raised large numbers of cats, persians and himalayians, My wife could correctly tell the colors and sex of the possible color variants when mixing two different colored parents. as she explained it to me Line Breeding, Father to daughter, son to mother ,brother to sister, resulted in more extreme cats,
      Flatter faces, higher noses , better coloring. But only good for about 4 generations , Then she would bring in
      a different lined stud or female to build the next 4 generations,she called this Outcross breeding. These cats
      had much better health than line bred cats, were more fit and energetic, and loved to play. I hope this answers your hybrid-hardiness question.

      • Lee Ann

        When I was young, I had a miniature poodle that was a linebred poodle, due to his Grandfather’s grand championship. He was the most neurotic, difficult to train, ditzy dog in the world. I certainly can’t blame all of that on his breeding, we got him when he was a year old also.

        I have two dogs now, one is a shih tzu/bichon hybrid, and the other is a golden retriever/poodle hybrid. I got them cheap, which is good because I wouldn’t have paid much for a hybrid, ‘d have rather gotten a few rescue dogs , which I have done before. They are smart, really smart. The shih tzu/bichon was supposed to be 12 lbs, he’s 24 lbs and not fat. The golden doodle is now 9 months old and is 26″ tall like her poodle father. She’s about 70 pounds. She has instincts of a bird dog, will retrieve anything, whether its hidden or not, will bring it over, and drop it in front of me and sit down. And I never taught her any of this .

  • Ruth Black

    If all we find of the Denisovans are fragments, perhaps they were just a menu item?

  • Charles Lessig

    There are some people living now who are very hairy. Check google for
    hairy people. Some of them also have quite broad noses and their
    non hairy relatives do not. Have any of these hairy people had their
    DNA tested for neanderthal genes? Just a thought.

  • Marc Boone

    It’s fascinating, but all this reflecting on our personal traits is also pretty entertaining. I wonder if the original Homo sapiens was a hybrid, like the red wolf, or two species even more distant. With all the different primate species existing at the same time, this might happened repeatedly. I’ve haven’t heard of this as a major driver of evolution but I’ll bet someone has suggested it.

    • Herne Webber

      Indeed, interspecies mating has generated and continues to create new species. Examples of this are innumerable in the Plant Kingdom, but exist among animals too. Some have put forth the idea that hybrids are always inherently less fertile. This is simply not true, as a rule. Some hybrids *are* infertile, or have severely inhibited fertility based on various mechanisms, including mismatched lock and key sperm and egg chemistry, or different chromosome numbers in the parental stocks leading to bad lineups when the hybrid goes to make gametes. That said, if there is little to no difference in chromosome number and arrangement, and a match in sperm and egg chemistry, two species that have been separate for millenia can and do come together successfully, and their progeny can also reproduce. Usually there *are* some initial minor problems between fellow hybrids, but given that the hybrids would normally back-cross to one or the other parental type, they represent the path of gene flow between two or more species. Eventually, over time a new species can come to stand alone between the two or more which genes it has, or else, as in the case of the polar bear, a new species stands alone, replacing both parental types, but which genomes are entirely represented in the new species. In the case of humanity, it looks as though most of our inter-group hybridisations happened in Africa, creating a sort of “hybrid swarm” of traits, favouring one tribe over another in some skill, while favouring the other over the one in another skill, until all groups had shared genes to the point that the most valuable (from our perspective) genes finally came together in at least one group. Actually, it’s more likely those came together in a small number of groups, who continued through time to have occasional mate exchanges, leading to several genus Homo lineages evolving parallel to one-another. When the later lineages met, they also mated, with gene flow going both ways, bringing them closer together the longer they lived near one-another, until eventually they simply appear from a genetic perspective to be two tribes within one larger group. Genetics, Linguistics, and Physical Anthropology might all give slightly different answers to the same questions, thus the grey areas still need interpretation, and new data.

  • Tummytime

    so, if each one of us has s0me % NeanD DNA, theoretically, it’s possible to collect this % DNA, combine it and make a 100% NeanD individual, a clone of some sort, right?

    • Dan

      I think that would be impossible.

    • Herne Webber

      Tummytime,
      I had given that a thought too, but then I realised something. Given both natural and sexual selection, it is much more likely that most people with a tiny percentage of Neanderthal have basically the *same* set of genes. Why? Because those genes gave either a survival or sexual attractiveness advantage, while the rest of the Neanderthal genome was either already identical to ours by descent, or else if different, was too different to fit well with how people were evolving in the larger (modern human) group. We could not tell if an identical gene came from early modern humans versus Neanderthals, if it was identical by descent, because our gene for something and their gene were already the same gene, say, for type O negative blood. That is the most common blood gene across all humanity. There are genes we have in common with all great apes, even all mammals, where, if you just look at the gene in isolation, you would find it impossible to tell which line it came from. Now, if we understood how much *shared* genetics we already had, we might find out that Europeans and/or South Asians have something like 70% of a whole Neanderthal. But the only way to recreate a full-blooded Neanderthal would be to reconstitute their entire genome in a lab, and then substitute it for a modern human one in an otherwise human fertilised egg. There would still be the issue of the mitrochondria being genetically different, but hopefully it would be close enough not to matter.

  • Bud Short

    The picture of that guy up in the article? I recognize him, he used to work for me as a CAD draftsman. Did a good job too…

  • Phil

    Did you know that Ozzy Osbourne was tested to see if he was part Neanderthal?
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ozzy-osbourne-genome

    • caith culbertson

      Excuse me, but don’t all of us have neanderthal dna, except Africans??

  • bigbadwolfy

    I work with a few. God Bless their thick little skulls.

    • bigbadwolfy: “God Bless their thick little skulls.”

      Thick BIG skulls. In my case, size 8. Finding a non-stretchy hat that fits is a headache. (Most are… too… tight….)

  • Stewart Fakelastname

    Does 23&me publish their percentiles of Neanderthal genes for different ethnic groups? My results told me what percentile I was in among Northern Europeans, but how does that compare with Southern Europeans or Non-specific Europeans, etc.?

  • tarura

    There is plenty of theories of the origin of the modern human, most are said to be descendants of the apes, but I can assure you that not necessarily all of us.

  • Van

    When I was in 6th grade our “science” textbooks depicted Neanderthals as hairy, stooped, grunting, slobbering, stinky, knuckle-dragging, cootie-picking primates. Now it turns out that, in fact, they are us! They were NOT covered with ape hair, they had speech capacity, their brains were alittle bigger than ours, they made impressive jewelry, they mourned and buried their dead, they were great artists (wall-paintings), they were cunning hunters and gatherers and, being fully human, they interbred and integrated with their so-called “modern” neighbors. This new genome revelation is very embarrassing to those scientists who have insisted that modern human beings evolved from lower ape-like ancestors. Get ready for the end of biological evolution as further genome studies debunk this evolutionary junk science.

    • Kelly

      It doesn’t disprove evolution at all. Both homo sapiens and Neanderthals evolved from more ape like hominids. Neanderthals and homo sapiens diverged more recently and that’s why we were still able to mate according to the hybrid theory. More recently there was a finding that humans didn’t interbreed with Neanderthal after all as their computer modeling showed the Neanderthal genes in modern humans were what they would expect to find if those genes were a remnant of a common ancestor. I’m betting on the hybrid theory myself though.

  • Vucja innominate

    I have seen people who looked so much different from the rest of us as to appear to be a different species; 2 Caucasian, related, 1 supposedly Chinese but looking so different from the typical Chinese. It was hard not to stare. The Caucasians had lighter hair, shortened faces, short noses, and very blocky-looking features with very stout bodies. The Chinese individual was enormous and powerful-appearing, totally different from what I’ve seen of most Chinese people, well-proportioned bodily, with coarse facial features. I wondered if he represented an earlier population which previously inhabited China and was displaced bythe more typical individual we see today.

    The afore- commented folks who feel very close to nature and don’t fit into the general culture well, were you associating these traits with being Neanderthal (Neander Valley in German)? Certainly some Cro-Magnon peoples would have some of these traits as well. Also, research into blood types shows they may be more closely linked with personality, personal traits/preferences than previously thought. I am 0+ , in the top few % of the population for intelligence, and very much a hunter-gather type, with the emphasis on the latter. I have also been proficient in hypnosis, alternative healings, and have had out-of-body experiences which somewhat alarmed me and the person concerned. I am also quite intuitive and react very quickly to potentially dangerous threats, while others are standing there. Several people have told me I’m “strange, funny, etc.” My spiritual experiences fall somewhere among Pantheism, Wicca, and Buddhism. I never believed in the Christianity I was taught.

    Although I am fascinated at the thought of distance Neanderthal ancestors, I am (fast forward thousands of years) also intrigued by the knowledge that most of us are descendants of survivors of the widely-disseminated Black Plague (Bubonic plague), and wonder why – and just wonder.

    FYI – studies have shown that red-haired people require about 20% more pain medication than others.
    Also – I’ve read somewhere that Genghis Khan had red hair and green eyes.

    • Vucja: “1 supposedly Chinese but looking so different from the typical Chinese.”

      China has many different ethnicities, of which the majority (Han) is only one.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_China

      > “… also intrigued by the knowledge that most of us are descendants of survivors of the widely-disseminated Black Plague…, and wonder why….”

      Those who didn’t survive didn’t leave as many descendants. Many orphans had harder lives, or joined the Church and died childless celibates.

      > “I’ve read somewhere that Genghis Khan had red hair and green eyes.”

      Yes, due to one of the Great Migrations. Temujin’s tribe descended from the Tü-Chueh, a branch of the redheads who’d come up from around Scythia, gone north along the west coast of Europe, gone east through what’s now Finland (Altaic-speaking), come south down into central Asia where the Kara-Khitan Empire and the later Mongol Empire would arise (both Altaic-speaking), then after interbreeding with the locals would still be pale but now black-haired, not Tü-Chueh but Turks (still Altaic-speaking), and send one branch to conquer a land westward they’d name after themselves — practically back where they’d started!

  • Pastori Balele

    There we go again with science lies. Noah Arch was found in Yemen -Sure – Jesus was blonde – and now with Neanderthals. This guy cannot be ancestor of non-African people. This guy must me African. Nose is flat; skin and eyes dark. All is baloney.

  • Willy Istvan

    A few years back, I saw a TV special on the “Human Genome”. It was filmed in NYC and there were hundreds of volunteers who had their DNA evaluated. I found the show truly fascinating. The one thing that had me curious, was the fact that as modern humans left Africa, “genetic mutations” happened in a number of regions, beginning in the Middle East. I wondered about these mutations, and how one individual could cause a mutation like blue eyes to occur in hundreds of future generations, eventually affecting millions of people. How could Europeans, Asians and Africans look so different from each other when we were all Africans? I am short and stocky and I have blonde hair (gray now, haha) and green eyes. My ancestry is Hungarian/Austrian. I don’t mean to sound racist here, and I would hope that no one would ever accuse me of being such, but I look nothing like Asians or Africans, even though I know my DNA began in Africa.

    A couple of years ago, I started reading about attempts by scientists to map the Neanderthal genome. Then I began to read that some of these scientists had actually found Neanderthal DNA in the human genome. For me, this is the obvious answer to my curiosity regarding the DNA mutations that had occurred when some humans left Africa.

    As a teenager back in the 1970’s, I wondered how it was possible that in the year 1945, some humans were inventing atom bombs while others were still throwing spears and rocks. How was it possible that over the course of human history, some humans were building pyramids or skyscrapers, while other were building mud huts. It just made no sense to me whatsoever. I grew up in a predominantly Asian area in Southern California. I felt so inferior to the Asian students that I attended school with. On average, the Asian intelligence level was far superior to that of the Caucasians. I know that in today’s society, this is considered racism, but to me, this is pure science. I don’t have a racist bone in my body. After all, science is based on facts, not on emotion, as is racism.

    After reading this article and some of the postings on this blog, I now wonder, “Is it possible that the interbreeding of Neanderthals and modern humans in some way contributed to the intelligence level of certain groups of humans? Could the interbreeding of modern humans and Denisovans have led to the superior intelligence of modern day Asians? Is it possible that this interbreeding led to the different features and colors displayed by different races?”

    I’ve come to the following conclusion: either the answer to the above questions is yes, or the “Ancient Alien” theorists are correct and some modern humans were lucky enough to have interbred with them; that is, the aliens, not the theorists 🙂

    • lamazamazeebee

      Very interesting. Homo sapiens.

  • Sam

    This article stimulated my intellectual curiosity genes right up to the very last sentence when it stimulated my laughter genes. Nice job of setting me up and knocking me down.

  • Ginny

    Why we, Homo sapiens, flourished and our Homo neandertalensis cousins died out is an evolutionary mystery that biologist are trying to unravel.
    Let me venture a guess. First of all, life expectancy back then was max 35 years, if they were lucky. Males dominated the decision making process, did not listen to their women, or common sense, they let stupidity, anger, violence rule their world, so they got decimated into extinction.

    Look at out present day male dominated societies. Full of violence and destruction. Its not rocket science to figure this out, When 49.9% of humans (male) think they are smarter and brighter than the other 50.1% (female) there is a fundamental problem in their thinking. Education and enlightenment is the answer in our quest for peace and survival.

    • Mike

      I don’t think it’s at all clear that Neanderthals were benighted patriarchs, or that prehistoric Homo Sapiens were not. We do know that most H. Sapiens societies in historical times have been “male-dominated,” and yet we have thrived. Although I generally agree with your conclusion, it doesn’t really follow from your argument. Then, too, I put “male-dominated” in quotes because generations of boys and girls have had their earliest education from their mothers. It goes too far to say “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” but I think it’s fair to say women have not been given their share of the credit, or blame, in the course of human development.

      As far as the difference between Neanderthals and H. Sapiens, I can well imagine it may turn out to be more cultural than biological. But, again, to assume the Neanderthals were the more brutish is unfounded, and overlooks the distinct possibility that brutishness may have long been an evolutionary advantage. It’s plausible that our race has prospered because our ancestors killed off our nearest competitors. Of course, that must be considered in the light of a world in which our gravest present peril may be our own prosperity.

    • OrcinusAdamant

      Thus spoke the one who’s ancestor’s were found with fractures and cracks on their skulls. Thus making it clear, that to this day, the “smarter” female, still has not learned, her damn role.

    • Oracle Jones

      But Ginny, if maleness is the root of all our problems doesn’t that put lesbians in a bad light? How politically incorrect of you.

    • Bonnie

      Your ability to grossly generalize the male population is breathtaking!! I’m a 62 yr. old woman (and staunch feminist) who can’t imagine being lumped with all other women in one sweeping comment. Most men are wonderful. Those that “lead” aren’t like the rest of us. By nature they must be different or they wouldn’t be where they are, right? So let’s look there before we male-bash.

    • William O. B’Livion

      Ginny, have you managed to learn to type on two different keyboards at once?

      In stereo as it were?

    • ynarugam

      Ginny, I have a feeling that Neanderthals had too many women like you in their group and they prefered not to breed and perpetuate a race that produced so hateful a female. Just a guess mind you.

    • xavier.marmosa

      Aside from all this gender bashing, Neanderthal was a specific type of species acclimated to winter regions. The pale skin, extra muscle, and bigger brain helped them survive during harsh living conditions that their African counterparts (Cro-Magnum) didn’t have until after they interbred. They processed food differently (in winter you HAD to be a meat eater because plants were scarce). Read a book on your blood type for information on different digestive tracks. They also were muscular and hairier for obvious warmth/hunting reasons. Neanderthals apparently showed evidence of “feelings” in ways Cro-Magnum didn’t (bones and flowers were arranged around funerals for their dead). There’s a type of winter mice that get chubby for the cold season and remain “monogamous” to their birthing partner. A chemical called “oxytocins” is higher in these mice than regular summer mice, creating the bonding or “love” element that keeps these mice parents together long enough for the survival of their baby. If they weren’t monogamous, one mouse wouldn’t feel the need to keep the baby warm while the other went to find food. They had to work together or die in the harsh environment that surrounded them. Human mothers excrete this same “oxytocin” in their breast milk. It’s likely that Neanderthal was more “emotionally intelligent” than their Cro-Magnum counterparts (living conditions gave them natural selection through cooperation) but, due to the same passivity that this new element created, left them ruthlessly exposed to the more aggressive Cro-Magnum slaughter later. Sadly, history is told by the victor.

      • John Knauf

        This is an interesting, insightful, and well articulated argument. Thank you for leaping over the bounds of opinion, bias, cultural conditioning, and just plain ignorance to offer something that moves the entire argument in the right direction. It was a refreshing read.

        • Susan Balee

          I like what you say here, too, and I believe much of this argument may be found in Clive Finlayson’s book, “The Humans Who Went Extinct.” I think what will soon be common knowledge is that there were many different types of humanoid species running around at the same time. Some survived and thrived, others didn’t.

          One thing, though — it’s Cro-Magnon. Cro-‘Magnum’ were the mythical ancestors who discovered champagne. (Just kidding)

      • Dean Nyffeler

        Aren’t these oxytocins the same or similar to the chemicals released into the bloodstreams of both dogs and the humans that are petting them.

    • d

      I find the influence on Northern Europeans to be clear. We are not tribal people. Those contemporary cultures without the Neanderthal gene are all tribal cultures and not the better for it. The Northern people with the gene gave the world the concepts of individual rights. The Neanderthal lived in small groups only out of necessity. this is in part why they died out.

      • DLS

        The Goths, Visigoths, Vandals, etc. were not tribal but favored individual rights? Really?

    • Lee

      I think Ginny was being humorous, tongue in cheek, etc.

    • Ken

      I got it. Women do not display a lack of common sense, anger, stupidity or violence. Not sure how that explains the behavior of many women I know, but now I know it must be something other than the above.

      Thanx for the info. I am eternally grateful, because now I can search for the real causes of the behavior of many women I know.
      (NO ladies, I do not mean all of you.)

    • Dale

      There is no reason to believe that a male dominated society, even one that routinely kills a high percentage of female infants, is at a survival disadvantage in the near term.

      However, I suspect that neandertal did participate in the practice of killing off any female infant born before the first born male. This created a lack of females for mating, and when modern man invaded their territory the unmated neandertal males captured modern man females as mates. The result would have been that over generations the neandertal genes would have become progressively more diluted.

    • Tom

      those must have been the golden years for environmentalists,, Neanderthals lived off the land, didn’t waste any natural resources, and didn’t stick around too long causing overpopulation on the Earth. Get in, Get what you need, and Get out! ~ maybe they had it right…

  • Brian

    Ginny I believe you might have that all wrong. I suggest that in the Neanderthals the women were the decision makers. They had the tribe searching for malls,new shoes and restaurants for so long everyone died of starvation. Glad I could clear this up for you.

    • Aman

      I agree, Brian..
      and the men said they wont let their kids suffer the same way and refused to procreate….

  • heather

    Actually 35 was an average age – you are talking about the hostility of the environment when you discuss age. High infant mortality rates, infections. If primitive man led an uneventful life, didn’t die from a cut on the finger or a broken bone (and didn’t get eaten) then he/she could live well into his/her 70s. And do you personally know any Neanderthals well enough to call them stupid or angry? Do you know that they treated their women like crap? And while you say neanderthal died out because of stupid violent men you are describing modern day Homo Sapiens the exact same way. And there are just as many violent, stupid angry females (I think one of them recently posted here) as there are males. And no they didn’t become extinct because almost all of us have some neanderthal blood in us. Sounds like you have found some real losers. My man treats me as an equal.

    • Michael

      Bravo!

      Heather’s got a brain. So rare on the internet.

      Excellent point about longevity. Something the medical community is only beginning to acknowledge.

      As for the nature of the Neanderthal, it is believed that they were much more quiet and peaceful than those that displaced them. But we won’t truly ever know.

    • Ken

      Good post. I noticed the indirect reference. I wonder if the person it is directed at will?

  • Kavalino

    Several women have written to him volunteering their husbands as subjects for study?!?!?! LOLOLOL -Oh yes… I do believe that I completely understand 😀

    • There was once a so called female group who long ago failed(they are not here any more). Just another tired rant about how peaceful females are etc etc blah blah. Had opportunity to see two females in action last week. Had it not been for three males they would have torn each other apart over some lame disagreement. So spare me and others the( I am women hear me roar ) in number to big to ignore cow pies) Your gender is no better and had it not been for the males of long ago,taking on and getting rid of competitors you would not be around to complain

      • womanism

        It’s woman (singular) and women (plural). No different than MAN and MEN. Women are no more progressive than men as we stand by and let the atrocities of the world take place and yes, many are obsessed with shopping and shiny pretty things rather than the conditions of women around the world. But for some reason, it’s the men that lead us in that direction of war, boxing, football, rape and violence against each other and especially women. Many times I have dreamed of a society that would not allow men and their violence to be included, but then I had an opportunity to work in an all female office. Yep, you probably guessed, it was not a utopian experience. However, we are all products of nature and even in nature the sexes serve different roles. If it weren’t for procreation and the programmed instinct to have sex, the sexes might never come together. And in many animals, that’s all the opposite sex has to offer each other.

  • Wendy

    I would like to read much more about the theory that Neanderthals were the early humans who lived to be hundreds of years old and that is why they have larger brains and bodies, for more years of human growth and development. That is took perhaps 40 years to even be an adult and then they lived to be 600-1000 years old. The Bible and other ancient writings record humans living to be these ancient years, before the Great Flood and the Ice Age and the earthly catasrtophic changes where the world went from a tropical paradise of hundreds of years of life to the harsh environments, lots of deaths, and much shorter life spans.

    It is purely human conjecture that early humans were not very intelligent, the idea of humans evolving from other more primitive life forms. But in fact, God created human beings “in his own image” from the first two, Adam and Eve. They were no less intelligent then anyone else. Neanderthals were not inferior in any way. They were probably smarter because they had larger brains and many more years to gain their wisdom and maturity. It is true though that without the accumulation of knowledge, history, and technology which we have today, they would have less to know at their disposal, but that doesn’t make their intuitiion less. After all, early humans built pyramids, and many kinds of advance cultures.

    Neanderthals went extinct in the sense that the earth, and God, no longer allows lifespans of hundreds of years. Therefore, human beings are not neanderthals because our bodies and minds cannot develop for hundreds of years. Our bodies and minds are designed to die at the maximum of 120 years in ideal conditions, and of course almost always less. That is why our DNA is different, but also why it is the same.

    I would love to see research done to see if those with more Neanderthal genes live longer then those with less. And also, if it can be determined how old Neanderthals were when they died in comparison with homo sapiens at the same time’s life span.

    • Bob Eckert

      Most of our Neanderthal skeletons are from those who died in their teens or twenties, but the Shanidar remains are from an “old” man who was probably past fifty.

      • Steve Johnson

        Forensic anthropologists, studying remodeled fractures on Neanderthal fossils, compared the type and number of fractures to job types of modern man. The match to the Neanderthal’s injury type and frequency was professional rodeo bull riders. One might surmise that hunting large animals with a thrusting spear was very dangerous, even with a heavier bone structure.

  • barys8

    Very interesting points. I don’t think this study is a clash between genders as it is more of a evolutionary and geneological path of human beings. Neanderthals no longer exist due to many reasons. Yes humans thrived but that could be due to partial luck as well. Violence and stupidity? Well that does seem to be an intrinsic characteristic we all possess. The point being is that let’s just enjoy the possible enlightening, and educational experience this article provided. 🙂

  • If that photo is what a Neanderthal looked like …I have to say…no disrespect to the Neanderthals…but they look like many of the men of scandinavian – Finnish and Norweigen decent here in Minnesota today.

    • RosieRosebud

      You are mean! 😉
      Actually, I think he men in MN from your mntioned our true can be quite good looking, as are the women.
      That being said, the Neanderthal pictures certainly does have a face that only a mother could love.

      • Fletcher Christian

        As in MN, Neanderthal women were strong, and the men were good looking, and all of their descendents, are above average.

        • Karla

          Neanderthl was what? When they discovered the first skll they thought it was an ape. I guess apes can be good looking

        • Autumn

          Ha! Fellow PHC listener!

    • I’m from Minnesota and figure we of Viking background should have a larger than average percentage of Ne DNA. My ancestors- females included- have a pretty aggressive lineage. The Irish story is that a firbolg or formoran race occupied the northern islands until the Tuatha de Danann came and did battle. Later they interbred to produce a “Celtic” type. A hardy practical inventive adventurous and surprisingly clever type.
      Consider the poetic talent needed to be a skald (court poet) and to produce the sagas of the Icelanders. Thus I’m pretty darn open-minded. Ne’s need a nickname. A nice one.

  • tyf

    Women were the hunter/gatherers and men guarded the villages or cave like dwellings–impregnated women–and otherwise, were the “wise men” of the tribe of off spring. This is the genetic ability information:
    what’s physically real versus hypothesis. Women can walk/hike/sprint while carrying pack (food/shelter supplies) better than males unless it’s not been their foundational training to do so: a woman’s body is
    more entitled naturally for these kinds of activities. But the real argument lies with the expenditure of
    calories (measurements of heat) upon male ejaculation: if males do indeed expend about 300 calories
    per one ejaculatory event (each pop), they could not have prudently consumed enough food to do
    regular (frequent) ejaculation and do hunting/gathering activity too (the rate of expenditure would
    exceed the estimated 300 calories rate of digestion per each hour after consumption of food stuffs).
    Women historically are smaller by size: which means less food is necessary for optimal survival and
    lastly, women bear the child; if the men were physically more adept (stronger or more likely to survive),
    the men would be the child bearers. This does not go to say all modern women are as fit as any man:
    the fitness of any individual depends upon consistent long-term behavioral choices; most women these days have only trained for decline (causing gross atrophy) and/or are consistently making self-destructive behavioral choices overall… But then so are most modern men: the changes being observed about genetic value seem to be related to the consistent changes in behavioral patterns, specifically the introduction of meat eating and consumption of dairy products which occurred about the time people started into constant decline: people are not carnivores and eating meat causes blood chemistry contamination, protein deficiency, genetic mutation and death; milk was only intended to raise an infant to the stage of solid food and that was (once baby developed teeth) when it was supposed to end… Drinking cow/goat milk or the milk of any other species is a totally dysfunctional thing for anyone to do, despite what age.

    • curt mason

      Tyf, darling, neanderthals didn’t do veggies – they ate meat, when they could get it, and lots of it.

      • John Granacki

        People are most certainly carnivorous by nature! There are individual exceptions, obviously, but overall we haven’t been remotely vegetarian for eight to twelve million years.

        Alas (and not unlike vegetarianism) the consumption of dairy products by non-infants is a modern / post-stone-age aberration, and is probably more detrimental than beneficial — but how else are we going to make decent cocoa, latté and ice cream?

    • Wolf359

      I think your description better fits a pride of lions than present day or prehistoric man. Eating of meat is why we are still not swinging from trees. Most humans do not have the issues you describe (I have vegan relatives btw) and cannot live without the protein which beans and nuts cannot provide (well, unless of course they have insects inside them).

      By the way, if I could drink mothers milk daily I would…..unfortunately it isn’t as readily available after your children over 2 years old…. 😉

      • ron

        wolf, we kan easily live without meat, my wife has done it for over 40 years. Excessive protein intake will lead to an early death

    • Aman

      I doubt your 300 cal expenditure / ejaculation.
      I believe its closer to 45…

  • Steven Narbonne

    Hey! That’s MY high-school picture! How did they get that? Out of the year book? I didn’t give permission to use it…. although you must admit I was hot!

  • James Ssemakula

    Conventional wisdom has it that big brains should confer a survival advantage. Yet, the bigger-brained Neanderthals became extinct, while Homo sapiens survived.

    The author does not say whether Neanderthal brains were bigger than expected for their body size. Does anyone know or have a plot of brain weight vs bodysize that includes H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis (sp?)

    • Darly Kevil

      Homo sapiens-1300cc (roughly), Homo neanderthalensis 1250-1900cc

      Homo sapien brain to body ratio is around 1:40. Brain to body ratio does not necessarily accurately predict how intelligent an animal is. It is argued that Neanderthals generally had a larger cranial capacity due to the robustness of their skeletons. I am not trying to infer that Neanderthals were less intelligent than their Cro Magnon counterparts. Obviously this is still a highly debated subject within anthropology and much more investigation is needed. More and more evidence has been turning up to suggest that Neanderthals may have had language capabilities as well as their own artistic practices.

  • Lori

    My husband is…

    • Muliebrity

      Yes. So is mine . . .

  • Anne

    If homo sapiens have Neanderthal DNA, then it shows the Neaderthals didn’t “die out.” They were simply overwhelmed by the numbers of the homo sapiens they mated with. A few generations from now, there may be no more blue-eyed people. That won’t mean blue eyed people “died out”, but that brown eyed people they mated with were much more numerous. Their genetic code continues…

    • Lee

      good point

  • Raven

    Well since there is no DNA from a Neanderthal for comparison all of this is merely a guess.
    (as usual)

    • ResourceDragon

      Scientists have been able to extract DNA from Neanderthal bones (several separate samples). So it’s not just a guess as usual.

  • CharlesB

    Homo sapiens look better,

    • Marcus

      lol – homo sapiens look better to you, because you are a homo sapien. To a chimp, you probably look pretty ugly, and to a neanderthal that fella in the photo probably looks quite handsome!

  • Mario Guillermo Merino Alegre

    When I was in college one of the anthropology professors asked me whether or not I had any Basque ancestry. I told him I did, a lot, and he told me he could tell because of my facial features. Then he told me I had Neanderthal features, to which I answered “I know”. The whole classroom had a good laugh, including me. Since then I have been interested in the subject, and wonder exactly how much Neanderthal DNA many of us “modern humans” really have. Just a thought…

    • Mònica

      Photo, please!

    • FoleyhasyourRecord

      I have some Basque/Iberian genetics, too and scored high in Neanderthal genetics. Cool story.

  • Followup comments: I have been working on an analysis of key elements in Norse mythology. The ice age is referenced as bringing disaster- ragnaroc (sp) says that the world was covered in ice. True, over 10,000 years ago. The effects would have been devastating to northern populations. If and when they migrated south they would encounter competition for scarce resources. However, they were amazing navigators and fishermen. But if aggressively seeking to occupy other tribal land, they may have been up against much larger populations with a higher birthrate; thus they might be way outnumbered. Consider this: look at the genetic soup! Whatever we think, it happened. And do we still consider cro-magnon to be the first of the homo-sapiens sapiens type? That’s a mere few thousand years ago.
    We Norse were terrified of what were called “mist-monsters” or niffelheim (sp). I noticed that their behavior similar to the biblical nephilim. I say they were one and same: the giants!

  • lauren callaway

    any cave in a storm?

  • Delmar Fairchild

    I would think that H sapien and H neandertalensis may have been the same species, just different locations producing differences in looks such as Chinese to European today. Thus H neandertalensis didn’t die out, their differences in looks were bred out.

  • Carole

    Actually they have sequenced the Neanderthal genome and that’s how they have given us Homo sapiens a percentage of Neanderthal DNA. Supposedly last month the theory that Neanderthals and Home Sapiens ever cooexisted has been challenged as they have stated that the Neanderthal bones found in Europe are much older than previously thought so it’s unlikely that Homo sapiens ever met Neanderthals. They say the accounting for the percentage of same DNA is prob due to evolving from the same ancestors in Africa.
    If that is true, then why do present day Africans have no Neanderthal DNA at all? This has not been explained so far.

  • Karla

    want to know what happened to Neanderthals, look to Europeon fairy tales, Who do you think the trolls under the bridge and under the mountains were.

  • Kat

    My grandfather looked very similar to the picture, blue eyes too. His mother was French and his father Austrian/Czec.

  • The explanation for the near disappearance of Neanderthals is here:
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/
    It also explains, to a great extent, the extinction of many other species, through the exponential extinction mechanism.

  • Kelly

    My experience is women are just as aggressive and angry as men but they express it differently. My experience, and studies back me up, is women provoke men into attacking them then watch, with tears in their eyes, as their man is led away in handcuffs. This provocation can be physical, hitting the man until he strikes back, or verbal/emotional until the poor guy gives in and defends himself physically.

    I do not excuse the man using his fists. This is dangerous and inexcusable but I do say things are far from black and white.

    Men yell, women nag and backstab.

    • LeslieFish

      Heheheheh. In modern society, you mean. Google a TV program called “Secrets of the Dead”, then search “Grave of the Amazon Queen”. Yes, those old legends were real. There have always been warrior women, and you can be sure they didn’t have to nag and wheedle and backstab and manipulate to get what they wanted.

    • FoleyhasyourRecord

      You apparently missed the “Snapped” marathon.

    • ResourceDragon

      How is a post that looks like it was taken off a “Men’s rights” website in any way relevant to a discussion of Neanderthal DNA in the modern human genome?

      • Roy Crader

        resourcedragon , digging into certain sciences such as human behavior , is not all pretty and fluffy as one may think. When calling a spade a spade even when ( it) doesn’t look look or act as one it is still a spade until proven other wise.

        thank you Kelly, I was also aware of that fact serving as a sheriff .When going to a domestic problem called in by the wife, you would prepare yourself more for the onslaught from her than the man.

  • Shar

    I’m disappointed that my experience of reading this interesting article was thwarted 2 time by VERY annoying web page elements: 1) the sharing bar POPS up in the middle of my reading (the Twitter, FB, Google, Mail bar) and then when I 2) try to leave a comment I enter my name, press TAB and then the page NAVIGATES to the top of the page! So either you don’t want me to read this article on my desktop and you don’t want me to leave a comment or my whole experience only happened to allow you to update/upgrade your page for better USER FRIENDLY usage. Whew!

  • bunker

    Men’s dna may lie in the scrapheap again if we don’t watch out.

  • bunker

    Men’s dna may lie in the scrapheap again if we don’t watch out….

  • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

    LOL! I bet those DNA people would have fun with mine. Black Welsh and Ukrainian here. Neanderthal? That’s no surprise. I think a few of the people I work with come from Mars, Io, and other planets out there. 😉

  • Nano

    I believe that we were visited by an advanced civilization and a new and more highly evolved human was produced. We see evidence of such events in ancient drawings, the pyramids, etc. And even though they tried to bring the human race forward, we are still stuck in the fighting and war range and as a result this planet is way behind. So sad.

  • Shawn

    It’s an embarrasing fact that we homo sapiens have been cannibals for at least during 90% of our existence as a separate species. Considering that the Neanderthals were much less aggressive and our species’ inherent andpossibly fatal shortcoming to exaggerate differences and to discriminate against anything physical (as in this case – later as racial discrimination) or conceptual (tribal – later nationaity, belief system- later religion, etc. ad nauseam) it’s quite possible that our ancestors hunted them down as food source and that’s how they went extict.

  • David P. Graf

    I hope people realize that this “blog” is really a come-on for their genetic testing services. I find it embarrassing and unethical not to disclose that upfront. Shame on anyone who writes these so-called blogs.

    • ScottH

      David, This is called the “23andMe Blog.” And part of our mission is to highlight our service as we inform people about new and interesting breakthroughs in genetic science. I’m not sure how much more transparent you can be than that.

  • Marc Boone

    In place of the standard model of modern humans marching forth and exterminating our primate kin, I propose that our genes marched from Africa and out competed their neighbors without genocide.

    The first African hybrids in a Neanderthal clan would have been the smartest, most articulate, least likely to be stepped on by a mammoth, most likely to raise their children to maturity in the tribe. In a few generations much more genetically African members from that group of Neanderthals would have interbreed with neighboring tribes. The people with the best genes (African) would have prospered, where the pure Neanderthals had barely survived. The few Neanderthal genes we are left with are the superior ones.

    This can be tested by analyzing more of the bones from the hybridizing era. There should be a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA in modern looking bones and a higher percentage of African DNA in Neanderthal looking bones.

  • johnpaul@georgeringlo.com
  • Marc Boone

    Could we, in principal, have deduced the introduction of other species DNA into the non-African gene pool by comparing the chromosomes from African people to non-Africans, without looking at old bones found in a cave?

  • willis

    I understand that life was over by age 20 for most people of that time, human and neanderthal, due to disease and injury. This means the average procreating human was a teenager. Also, fermented beverages appeared at about this time as well. It’s a wonder we don’t have traces of elephant DNA.

  • Marc Boone

    Average life span doesn’t preclude a few old folks surviving to teach the kids. Alcohol may have been consumed many thousands of years before we have detected it. Neanderthals may have also had it. Intentionally fermented alcohol might even predate humans.

    We will probably discover bits and pieces of DNA from unlikely sources (bugs, plants, bats) that were dragged in by viruses over the years, as detection improves.

    I’m curious about the new twists that might be revealed by studying the role of hybridization between species in the evolution of plants and animals.

  • Ann Pridemore

    This may well be just an advert for services, but the intelligence and lively debate on this blog gives me hope for the future. Read these messages- we’re talking some serious quantifying here. As for the disappearance of Neatherthals – I don’t think they left. They just adapted, intermingled, and evolved.
    And I’m pretty sure I eyeballed one shopping yesterday – serious chest hair and an extended mandible. And wearing Nikes. Now that’s evolution at its finest!

  • Joe

    My theory is neanderthal were as human as us. Basically a different race. That race was assimilated by modern man. If they were really different they couldn’t mate and produce fertile offspring, I.E. mules from horses and donkeys. By the way, I don’t buy evolution. (Think about it, if neanderthals were before us why did they have bigger brains, evolution says it works the other way).

  • Hawkeye

    why use Mel Brook’s picture as teaser for this post?

  • Marc Boone

    That is not the theory of evolution! Marmosets evolved from monkeys with bigger brains.

    Evolution is not progress or improvement; not good or bad and not “just happened”.

    Evolution merely says that whoever has the most offspring who live to reproduce will inherit the niche; until the next meteor strike, ice age or “Land ahoy!” changes the rules. Second place will be awarded a beautiful exhibit in the hall of also ran (Look mom, a stuffed dodo!).

  • Humans and neanderthals MAY have shacked up? Are you kidding? They banged together so much the two species fused into modern humans. I have absolutely no doubt that the neaderthals did not disappear at all. They became part of us. If scientist cannot prove this yet, they need to keep working. Everyone knows that we are still cavemen inside, and I am clearly a ground-walking upright ape. Stop pretending there is a mystery here. The problem only exists in our lack of proof, not our understanding of human and our ancestors. Use your brain (it’s half neandthal).

  • Comanche

    I don’t need a test. I have a uni-brow, wide noes and brow ridge.

  • Andrew Banks

    Thank you, but I’ve been to the family reunion. I know that there are Neanderthals in my family tree.

  • Marc Boone

    I’m sure someone else has already suggested it but the event that produced homosapiens, who overran the world practically overnight, might have been another hybridizing event, 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Is there any way we could compare our DNA to the bones of some of the potential ancestors from that era?

  • divejoy

    They probably died out because they lacked a gene that could protect them from a sickness.

  • Marc Boone

    It is unusual for an entire species to get wiped out by illness. Anyway, there would still be remains of them, and their ancestors in caves and landslides.

  • AA

    This is shocking that so many people are wondering how Neanderthal were wiped out of the face of the earth? The more shocking is the wild guessing about the how the partial gene survived among us!
    The oldest history of modern day human told by Vedas, Bible and other fragmented tale tellers is full of violent conquests, rape and aggressive spread of genes. The simple gradient of skull features can be observed from north to south in Indian sub-continent, which is evident of genetic propagation by Arian people. Mongoloid skull and features gradient down from North —East-Asia to the shores of Black sea in the west tells another story of Mongol conquest, brutal killing of all male of ages between 6 and 60 and rape of women. Similar physiological evidence can be observed throughout world of recent genetic aggressions of modern day human.
    Probably the methods of modern day human remain the same as they used to be at the time of conquest of Neanderthal lands and the mare portion of gene we carry from them probably handed out to us by our fore-mothers.

    • Marc Boone

      I thought I read that most of our Neanderthal genes came from Neanderthal fathers.

  • ed biehl

    I can think of some college administrators and faculty members who came Neandethals

  • Maria O’Connor

    Neanderthals are alive in most of us. The probable reason why Neanderthals got extinct is alien illness. Most people except pure blood sub Saharan Africans have Neanderthal genes. This means that the mixed offspring’s of Neanderthal and Homo sapiens survived, because, they had antibody for both Neanderthal and Homo sapiens illness. Their parents died. Sub Saharans Africans never encounter a Neanderthal, so they did not get their illness.
    Probably the first mixture was Neanderthal female and Homo sapiens male and their daughters mixed with Homo sapiens, so we did not inherit mitochondrial DNA. However, we could find in the future a group of people with Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA? Last year a new indigenous tribe was discovered in the Amazon. There are people that live in isolated places that never venture to a city or town. The blonde hair of Melanesians is not related to European blonde hair and that is a new discovery.

  • Marc Boone

    No vast Homo sapiens conspiracy.

    There seems to be a propensity to portray the activities of our stone age forbearers in the same manner as Hernandez Cortes and Genghis Khan and to foist yet another guilt trip on their descendents, but we don’t know that the prehistoric world worked like that. We haven’t even straightened out the last ten to fifteen thousand years of history in the western hemisphere (where did Kennewick man come from?).

    The Neanderthals did not show a great deal of innovation or spread out very far into Eurasia over the course of half a million years. At least some of this conservatism must be due to their genetics. If a group of them interbred with Homo sapiens, then Homo sap genes would have started leaking into the Neanderthal gene pool. Any elements of Homo sapiens culture that was picked up, which required a bit more ingenuity (fish traps, small game snares, sharper tools, and perhaps better communication, allowing for larger communities), would have accelerated the process.

    None of this precludes murder, rape and plague; it simply makes them irrelevant. Once the new genes were introduced, if they gave their bearers an advantage, they would have spread inexorably and displaced the old DNA the same way that lactose tolerant genes replaced intolerant genes in livestock herding people.

    Neanderthals may not have been killed, driven out or eaten; they may have become modern people, one gene at a time. There could still be remnants of pre-Homo sapiens language, place names and culture surviving in the Neanderthal homeland, or carried into new areas, just as the Celtic counting system was carried into New England by sheppards who had assimilated it into their work culture.

    This scenario can be tested by analyzing old Homo sapiens remains in Europe, to see if the proportion of Neanderthal DNA is higher than today.

  • Alan M. Smith

    Pardon me if this point has already been made; how can one say that Neanderthals “died out” when it is being proven that Neanderthal genes are discovered in modern “cro-magnon” humans? It is obvious to this reader that they didn’t die out, only assimilated with a more dominant form. Isn’t this just a function of evolution? I love the idea that I might have neanderthal genes; who wouldn’t?

  • Alan M. Smith

    The notion that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons wouldn’t have interbred is absurd, racially motivated that anything else. Excuse me, but there is zero record to tell us what they might have been thinking, but common sense should tell us that Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals were getting it on. Truth is, modern men have always been somewhat guilty of jumping anything that walks, breaths, and speaks; I think Neanderthal women would have fit that description to a T. Beside, some men like knuckle walkers– short, husky, and hairy. Go figure. Sure, we know that Neanderthals were dying from blunt trauma to the skull, but do we really know that it wasn’t from Neanderthal on Neanderthal violence? Why does it have to be assumed that it was caused by modern humans?

    • kun tewk

      Precisely. How do we know the Neanderthal was more violent ? Talk about racism ! Though Neanderthal hunted large game and were stronger, their large brains suggest greater sophistication. Seems to me one can make some judgements of the truth by examining behaviors of modern day inheritors.

      • ARIA

        You’re ridiculous. There is no such thing as race. But go ahead and keep being brainwashed.

    • Doug

      Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons did not interbreed. They lived together for thousands of years in Europe and remained distinct until Neanderthals died out for various reasons. All Y-chromosome lineages lead back to one source. All MtDNA lineages lead back to the one source. There are no neanderthal lineages in the modern human population. They assertion of neanderthal admixture is based on some genes that are so evenly dispersed in the non-African population that they could not be the result of admixture which would produce a very uneven dispersal.

      • LeslieFish

        “White” Europeans and “Black” Africans also “lived together for thousands of years” around the Mediterranean and “remained distinct” right down to the present day. That hasn’t prevented a lot of “race mixing” between them, though. Why should it have been any different for Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, Java Man, Denisovans, etc.?

        • paleoanthro student

          the genetic distinction between european and african homo sapiens is insignificant, especially compared to the genetic distinctions between two separate species of hominid, homo neanderthalis and homo sapien.

          in spite of the genetic evidence, there is little to no evidence in the fossil record of widespread cultural contact between Neanderthals and humans– what we see are distinct tool industries, dwelling places and types, kinds of art, and personal ornaments from each group. undoubtedly there must have been some interbreeding, but this was not on a huge scale.

          @ Alan M. Smith, as to interpersonal violence in the fossil record, the evidence is extremely difficult to interpret– “death by blunt force trauma” could just mean the victim was struck by a falling rock, for instance. Paleolithic CSI is a tricky business. We do know that Neanderthals cannibalized one another in such a way that appears to be strictly for food– no malevolence or ceremonial intent than we can derive, so far.

          Additionally, Neanderthals were not “knukcle-walkers”– this misconception comes from the improper conclusions drawn of the La Chapelle Aux Saints specimen, who had severe arthritis. Neanderthals were obligate bipeds and could walk upright just fine.

      • DuhUh

        Utter tripe! There’s no direct mtDNA. because being a ‘Grand Dame’ is an experience that few lines could/will manage, which is why we see so few across the globe. With mtDNA, at best, you’re getting half the picture of half the picture of a fraction of the picture. And btw, the dispersal is not even; it’s greater in east Asia. It shows up in greater than 4% in various individuals in Europe & I suspect as “heritage DNA” testing becomes cheaper and more common, we’ll see that statistically averaged 2-4% increasing. But do stay mired in yesterday’s beliefs.

  • c square

    Homer Simpson is 95.2% Neanderthal.

    • kun tewk

      Ignorance on display. Can’t you read ? They had bigger brains ! It’s most likely “sapiens” are the stupider part of our inheritance.

    • thelernre

      Humor received at this end :).

  • Alferie Nadderbottum

    It seems to me that Neanderthals were the perfect match for modern man. If we have learned anything at all, it is that scientists are pretty absurd and myopic. What about the fossil mixing discovered in South Africa?
    They found human bones with 55,000,000 year old protovertebrates…what a mystery?
    And the large human bones found in the Valley of Eschom, near Jeroboam, Israel? Those human femurs were such that the human who had that femur was 10 feet tall….a great basketball player..if he also weighed 500 lbs and could jump 22 feet straight up

    • Jan

      No doubt that was Goliath or one of his relatives. 🙂

      • ARIA

        LOL

  • Wayne

    I imagine that Neanderthal men would have found dainty human women to be very attractive. It could just well be that Neanderthals were bred out of existence by natual selction based upon beauty.

    Look up Nikolai Valuev, the 7-foot tall Siberian Russian boxer. That guy is heavily Neanderthal – no queston. There are accounts from the last century of a Russian man with a tremendous jaw that could pick up people in chairs using only his mouth. And there were reports, not too long ago, of a reclusive group of people that lived deep in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, an area that is snowed in about eight months of the year. They leave out furs, hides and horns in a meadow, and then retreat back into the woods.. Fur traders then leave axes, knives, etc in exchange. The two groups never see each other. Some have speculated that they may have been the last band of Neanderthals. Perhaps they still live.

    • Doug

      Oh gee, well that’s conclusive.

    • William

      Neanderthals were about 5 feet tall. How does a 7-foot human relate to Neanderthals?

  • Mary Walterman

    I have not gotten my 23andme results back yet but I had another genetic analysis done and I have both Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry. Not much of it but I found it interesting. I believe as well that to think that there was no mating going on between Cro Magnon and Neanderthal hominids is nuts! Neanderthals were not stupid – you do not survive for as long as they did by not adapting. I think the 2 species just simply blended and became the best of both. I am proud of my Neanderthal DNA and it does explain a few things! :-))

  • Lagoon Power

    Quote “Most interesting of all is that, although Neanderthals disappeared long ago, their DNA lives on in all non-African people.” Excuse me? I am black African and according to my 123andMe genetic test, I have Neanderthal genes? What gives?

    • ScottH

      Lagoon,
      Thanks for your comment. Indeed it would be unusual for someone with 100 percent Sub Saharan African ancestry to have a substantial amount (>1%) of Neanderthal DNA. The test has a standard error associated with it so it’s unlikely we predict exactly 0 percent for anyone. So to answer your question it would be helpful to know a few things. What is the predicted percentage? Also do you have have any European Ancestry and/or is his Ancestry from Somalia, Ethiopia or Sudan?

      • Lagoon Power

        Scott, here is the breakdown according to 23andMe. I am from the Sahel part of Nigeria and as far as I know, I have no European relatives.
        1.5% Neanderthal DNA on a 66th percentile (I have no idea what the percentile means)
        88.6% Sub-Saharan African
        2.3% European
        0.9% Middle Eastern & North African
        8.2% Unassigned

        • ScottH

          Lagoon, Thank you for sharing. It appears that we’ve assigned some non-African ancestry to you in your ancestry composition – European, Middle Eastern and possibly in the Unassigned percentage. That may explain the Neanderthal percentage.

        • Lagoon Power

          One more thing Scott, according to 23andMe, the average Sub-Saharan African user is 1.3% Neanderthal. So the statement in the article “although Neanderthals disappeared long ago, their DNA lives on in all non-African people” is problematic for all practical purposes.

          The average Sub-Saharan African (black African) has Neanderthal DNA, so in my mind, Neanderthal DNA is in most people, except in “some” Sub-Saharan Africans. Which brings me to the question, is there a pure 100% Sub-Saharan African, with no genes from any other group? If so, how large, percentile-wise, is that group.
          It appears to me a highly evolved DNA classification of the groups is necessary, so that the average reader has a baseline guide in interpreting such articles.

          Thanks for chiming in.

        • Doug

          Lagoon Power

          There is R Y-chromosome lineage in Cameroon. It is a very primitive strain of R. This means that there was a prehistoric migration of non-Africans to Africa. Today, R is the primary Y-chromosome lineage of Europe. This is not to say that these R lineages in Cameroon came from Europe because R is found (as a minority lineage) all over Eurasia.

        • Jack Nick Olsen

          ‘…I have no European relatives.’ Uhm…

          • lamazamazeebee

            That’s like saying “I don’t have any black relatives.”

      • Diini Ahmed

        Is it likly that somali people hav Neanderthal dna?

    • robertdaniels

      native american people have the most dna from neanderthals

    • Roy Crader

      Your forefathers made a trip back to visit his great-grandmother before they all passed on, and , then, well he really liked one of his 4th cousins before he returned up north. Of course they did not text each other again

  • SQR

    The Middle-East is full of Neanderthals!

  • Elmer117

    I have done the 23andMe test and have a higher percentage of Neanderthal that average. I am also a member of MENSA, the high-IQ society. I’m wondering if people with higher IQs all have higher percentages of Neanderthal in their genes.

    • ScottH

      Elmer117, We haven’t seen an association between intelligence and Neanderthal percentage.

      • Dean

        hahahah! that is a funny response!

      • LeslieFish

        However, there could be a connection between Neanderthal DNA and the phenomenon of “eidetic memory”.

    • Inestine

      Elmer – Great to hear that you’re a MENSA. I am one two, and would like to think I’ve at least got a few more points on the IQ scale than you. Jut saying.

      • testine In

        inestine: you are one two. Amazing. I am Juan Too. Jut out.

      • Johann Cock-a-boom-boom

        You spelled “too” wrong.

      • James C Petersen

        As a member of Mensa you would never say, “Great to hear that you’re a MENSA” – You would say, “Great to hear that you’re ‘in’ MENSA” or “Great to hear that you’re an ‘M’ (or ‘Mensan’)
        Also a few points difference in IQ is insignificant between members and IQ scores are rarely discussed by members.
        Of course if you were heavily drinking when you wrote that. it is possible that you are an “M”, but not probable.

      • FoleyhasyourRecord

        I think all of you are on Menses. Just saying.

    • Donna

      To Elmer117:
      My father has a large percentage of Neanderthal and also has a very high IQ. They found most of the Neanderthal DNA in Tuscany, home of the Renaissance. Something to think about.

      • paleoanthro student

        Another person commented about Neanderthal’s “big brains”, but consider that homo sapiens still have a dramatically larger EQ (encephalization quotient), which considers the size of the brain relative to the size of the body (and before you say that Neanderthals were shorter on average than modern humans, consider that they were also considerably more robust in terms of both bone and muscle mass as a type).

        I think it’s worth considering that IQ is a Western construct, and that those already acculturated to these learning values and modes of thought have a leg-up in IQ-based evaluations of intelligence. That might be the connection you’re seeing: the connection between people of European descent (thus likely to have Neanderthal DNA) having an advantage in culturally-based valuations of intelligence. Similarly, in Western culture, we value the Italian Renaissance as a peak of human innovation, although it’s certainly not the first or only “renaissance” in human history.

    • ARIA

      oooh you’re biologically destined to be intelligent with a high iq as a member of mensa! and tuscany is home of the renaissance and home of the moors…something to think about

  • Diane Lynn

    1)
    Bonobos are nearer in DNA to humans than chimpanzees and bonobos are physically much more like humans than chimpanzees.
    2)
    I am a portrait painter and notice the heavy brow ridge on some men of European ancestry that I do not recall seeing on men of African ancestry.

  • Doug

    Problems with the claim that modern humans are part Neanderthal.
    1. No Neanderthal Y-chromosomes has been found in the modern human population.
    2. No Neanderthal MtDNA has been found in modern humans.
    3. Why would only one small set of Neanderthal genes survive in modern humans as opposed to bits and pieces from all over the Neanderthal genome?
    4. The dispersal of this “Neanderthal” gene group is so universally and evenly distributed that is suggests that all the people who first came out of Africa had it rather than that it was the result of admixture.

    • Brad Foley

      Good points, and I’m sure that some of the numbers will change with more genomic sequencing, and more Neanderthal genomes. However, there are good (technical} reasons we would expect to see the patterns you point out. It has to do with incompatibilities between different species (Dobzhansky-Mueller incompatibilities).

      When two near-species cross, some of the genes are incompatible, and diversity in these regions will be lost (they’ll be uniformly one of the parent species). So admixture will be highly uneven. Again for technical reasons, the Y chromosome and the mitochondria are highly susceptible to this process (elevated effects of serial selection on the Y, rapid mutation in the mitochondria). I’d expect the X to have a reduction in Neanderthal genres, too – I’m curious to check if that is the case.

      We see these patterns all the time in contemporary admixed populations (think hybrid cats, e.g.)

  • nooneherebutme

    My fahter was a neandrathol. so my family must come from the that line. i was not. i dont get along with them. alot of people to me looko neandrathol. and are still running down anything .. they cant get hold of.. that is part of the ndrthl make up.. and shreck looking features. hairy chest, and other… wait till they make the little home DNA test for this…

  • Dean Nyffeler

    I have a totally different take on this. Why is always stated that our closest common ancestor is the Chimpanzee. Why is it never our closest ancestors are the Chimpanzees and the Bonobos. Is it just that a peaceful branch of our ancestorial tree is of little note or that so new in our studies that it is forgotten. I hope the latter because we need to study why they turned peaceful while the Chimps will eat their own. Is it truly just the accident that the Congo isolated them from food competition or is there more we need to learn about their behavior to better understand our own.

    • qwerty

      peaceful…don’t think so…

  • Marcia Patterson

    23andme tells me that 2.5% of my DNA is from Neanderthals, a little less than average. I am short however (5’2″), my IQ was tested at 150, and I’m probably a little boorish…hehe. UGH!

  • SamP

    I don’t see how someone can be given the percentage Neanderthal they are if only just over half of the Neanderthal genome has been completed? They may have genes from the currently unknown part of the genome which would surely mean that they could have much more Neanderthal in their DNA than the test shows? Or have I got the wrong idea?

  • Jean-Paul

    Hi,
    I’ve recently obtained 23andme results establishing the percentage of neanderthal genes I have in the part of my sequenced genome. Curiously, having obtained results for my parents as well, I learned that while they both have 2.7%, my sequencing revealed 2.9%. How is this possible ?

    • Scott23H

      Jean-Paul, You inherit 50 percent of your DNA from your mother and 50 percent from your father. We use several different SNPs to calculate your Neanderthal percentage. It’s likely that you inherited different Neanderthal SNPs from each parent, resulting in a percentage that is higher than either parent individually.

  • Paul Rigano

    chimpanzees – our next closest mammalian relative

    Bonobos are closer relatives than Chimps.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo

  • liberty4all

    Very interesting site and thanks for a lot of information!

    Please clarify an issue for me. I started out asking Google about the genetic-DNA overlap between human beings and bonobos. Under your link was this fragment of a sentence: “Bonobos are nearer in DNA to humans than chimpanzees and …”

    On the other hand , your article above said, “Humans and Neanderthals share a common ancestor with chimpanzees – our next closest mammalian relative – that goes back between five and seven million years.”

    That seems contradictory to me. If Bonobos share more genes/DNA with us , wouldn’t that make Bonobos closer to us than chimps? Please explain/clarify. Thanks you.

  • Steven Brian Sikes

    I’m quite the mutt. 3% Neanderthal. And: Celtic, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi, Asian. Tested at high IQ (over 160), but I think they made a mistake — it has to be lower. I’m proud of my Neanderthal roots — explains a lot 🙁

  • Mike

    It seems to me that Neanderthals come from a smallish family group that migrated to Europe and became isolated, the familial interbreeding causing a fairly rapid physical change to the small society over many generations. The harsh climate, scarcity of resources during winter and probably severe tribalism, kept the population down. Upon the lessening of conditions after thousands of years, homo sapien sapiensis also migrated, only these new groups were larger and there was continuous immigration and the eventual contact and cross-group sexual congress eventually diluted the neanderthal lineage, though the DNA of course still exists and in isolated groups (the Basques) exists at a higher level.

  • tantoo

    i was reading another article regarding the DRD4 mutation and the connection to neanderthals. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/garret-loporto/surprising-way-your-neand_b_568455.html ) i’ve known about my own connections with that mutation, but am now intriqued to know if others with a larger neanderthal DNA percentage also share some of the same traits as i do . . .

    i’m 3.3% neanderthal DNA; an artist, musician, writer, chef, and creative in general. i can do anything (excepting childbirth) – design, build, and create pretty much whatever i choose, and i’m plagued with wanderlust. i also deal with ADD, bipolar disorder, have an IQ of 165, and i’m a misfit (hell yeah). i take the reigns in almost any group setting – or the reigns are instinctively handed to me. many describe me as intense, difficult, and intimidating.

    not wanting to jump to conclusions, but these are typically qualities associated with neanderthals. wondering what the connection is, if any . . .

  • LeslieFish

    Here’s a thought; the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines came to Australia as early as 80,000 years ago, which is long before Neanderthals “died out” — or more likely, were bred out. Has anyone done DNA studies comparing Aborigine DNA to Neanderthal, or Denisovan? I’ll bet they’ve got a higher percentage than folks elsewhere in the world.

    –Leslie < Fish

  • FoleyhasyourRecord

    @lisaloo I am not sure why they are demonizing Neanderthal genetics? I keep reading the same misconceptions and just laugh out loud. I have 3.4% and am like you. I do not have to shave my legs. I have no arm hair. I am fair-skinned, light eyes and tall. I play classical piano by ear. I will not be sharing IQ numbers, as I feel that is pretentious. My sister was laughing that I had such a high amount, but upon further research beyond the first page of google results and sensationalized stories….I have discovered that having a higher amount of Neanderthal is nothing that should cause shame. I think it is comical and childish some of the responses that I have read, frankly.

  • Jack Nick Olsen

    No; *Europeans* have an average of 2.7% Neanderthal D.N.A. East Asians have an average of 20% more.

  • Christina

    I’m very curious as to why I am 2.7% neanderthal while my full blood sister is higher at 3.1% neanderthal?

  • Kathleen Ames

    I have been, reading most people are between 1 and 2% neanderthal if they have Neanderthal in their DNA. My test came back from 23andMe…shows that I am over 43% neanderthal. I think someone should do a study on me or and least talk to me for further research. I’m only 4’11”, very strong and very good-natured. It took forever to get my test back perhaps they had that run at least two to three times to be sure I mean over 43%… Wow!

    • 23blog

      Kathleen,
      This is unlikely. Currently our Neanderthal report actually does not report you Neanderthal percentage but the number of Neanderthal variants you have in your DNA and how that number compares to other 23andMe customers. So it is possible that what you are reading in your report shows you that you have more Neanderthal variants than 43% of 23andMe customers.

    • ResourceDragon

      Are you sure that isn’t 43rd percentile? When 23andme first started testing for Neanderthal genes they said that the average was around 2.5%. With more people tested, the figure is now around 2.7%. So, based on that and the figures for my DNA relatives, I would guess that you are around 2.6% – 2.7% Neanderthal.

  • Celina Knippling

    I have results for myself, my maternal uncle, and now my brother. Before my brother took the test, I knew that my uncle had a higher percentage Neanderthal (3.0%) than I do (2.7%), so my assumption was that my dad must have had a lot fewer Neanderthal genes to pass on (assuming that I was the average between mom’s % and dad’s %).

    However, my brother (full biological, share both parents) came out higher than me (2.9%), which surprised me. Am I just a freak who missed out on getting some of the Neanderthal genes? (Ok, rhetorical joke question, but I’m still puzzled as to why my brother had a different % than I did).

    • 23blog

      While both you and your brother get half of your DNA from your mom and half from your dad, you don’t get the same mix.

  • ResourceDragon

    35,000 years is a long time. Your ancestors had plenty of time to mix with people who did have Neanderthal ancestry or even, in the early years, mix with Neanderthals themselves.

  • Malabi

    Somebody know if there is any relation between having a high percentage of Neanderthal genes and having Rhesus O negative blood type?

  • Roy Crader

    My wife is short, brutish, and hairy, she will also beat your butt if you try to kick her out of your cave